Council Wrap-Up: Birth of New Sister City, Rebirth of Charging Stations

Cupertino gets a new sister city in Bhubaneswar, India; electric car charging stations make a comeback at City Hall.

A new sister city is born, electric car charging stations at City Hall are reborn, and arguments against new single-family housing regulations are stillborn—a few of the issues heard by the Cupertino City Council on Tuesday night.

Here is the council wrap-up:

• Reflective of Cupertino’s growing Indian population, the city will get a new sister city in Bhubaneswar, India, thanks to a major push by citizens and Rotary Clubs on two continents, and the blessing of the City Council on Tuesday night. The Bhubaneswar Sister City Initiative, a committee of local citizens, told the council that residents from both cities are eager to establish a connection. Committee member Mahesh Pakala said Bhubaneswar is “considered the cleanest and greenest city in India,” and, like Cupertino, is home to high tech companies and has a strong interest in education. Earlier this year, Mayor Gilbert Wong visited Bhubaneswar, a 2,000-year-old city on the northeast coast of India that serves as the capital of the state of Orissa. Bhubaneswar will be the fourth sister city for Cupertino. Two active committees promote relationships with Toyokawa, Japan, and Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China; the city has a less active relationship with Copertino, Italy.

• The council voted to accept grants that will bring back electric car charging to City Hall, although there was debate over where to put the stations, because of a fear of giving up precious parking lot space. A decade ago, the city had charging stations for several Rav4 electric vehicles in its lot, until the vehicles were later recalled. Earlier this year, the city entered into an agreement with a company to reinstall charging stations. Yet council members have been loathe to give up parking spots inside the lot. When they asked if the charging stations could be placed on Rodrigues Avenue, outside the lot, members were told that running a new electrical line could cost as much as $28,000. On Tuesday the council told staff to find the additional money to run the line out to the street. Only Councilman Orrin Mahoney voted “no,” favoring parking spots within the lot at no cost to the city.

• A few residents made a last-ditch effort to stop implementation of a new ordinance regarding rules for single-family home construction. Jennifer Griffin of the Rancho Rinconada neighborhood called the new “R1” rules, especially in regards to two-story homes, bad for her area, where lots are 50-by-100 feet. She argued that the council improperly discussed items on Aug. 2 that were not publicly noticed, but the city attorney said the council met all noticing requirements. An email suggested that Councilman Barry Chang, a real estate agent, should have been disqualified from voting, but the attorney said the ordinance was broad enough that there was no conflict of interest. A few residents spoke on Tuesday in favor of the new ordinance, before the council voted final approval.

Devasis August 18, 2011 at 06:06 AM


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